Increasingly, "text coverage" is being used in studies to measure the intelligibility of word lists and second language learning material, and because, to date, there are no established standards for calculating text coverage, the reliability of resulting data and its practical application to language learning is called into question. This study addresses this issue by applying empirical analyses (distribution of mean score and standard deviation) to text coverage samples using variations of text length (both with and without proper nouns), vocabulary size and sample size in order to determine how these variables might affect the calculation of text coverage. Twenty-six different text lengths taken from CNN news transcripts and 22 lists of graded vocabulary range taken from high frequency words of the British National Corpus were analyzed using 10 djfferent sample sizes in 1,000 iterations. The results of the study clearly demonstrate that text coverage is more stable when the text length is longer when more samples are used, and when proper nouns are excluded When proper nouns were retained, the coverage figures were 10-12% less than when they were excluded As a practical guideline for educators, a table showing minimum parameters is included for reference in computing text coverage calculations.
This research explored the relationship among lexical access skills, vocabulary knowledge and reading comprehension by Japanese high school students learning English as a foreign language (EFL). In previous studies, lexical access skills and vocabulary knowledge were treated in a different paradigm, but the present study attempts to incorporate both lexical access skills and lexical knowledge into a single theoretical framework, providing insight into the interrelationships among lexical skills, vocabulary knowledge, and EFL reading comprehension. This research was designed to answer the following hypotheses: Hypothesis (1): in EFL reading by Japanese high school students, scores on the orthographic test should be higher than those on the phonological test; Hypothesis (2): in EFL reading by Japanese high school students, scores on the depth of vocabulary knowledge test and the reading comprehension test should correlate more highly than those on the vocabulary size tests and the reading comprehension test. The results of this research support the importance of improving breadth and depth of vocabulary knowledge in EFL reading.
Two case studies are reported on changes in learner beliefs. The first study looked into the changes in beliefs about the importance of learning text organization reported by students enrolled in a writing class. Although there was not a drastic change, some learners showed positive changes in their views; the learners who undervalued the importance of text organization at the beginning of the course eventually came to value it. However there were also learners who changed toward a negative direction; they lowered their estimated value of text organization. In the second study, changes in learners' views about a particular method of learning, i.e., reading aloud, were analyzed. Data on Iwo aspects of learners' beliefs which relate to the motivational concepts of value and expectancy were collected at Iwo times. Again, as in the first study, there were negative as well as positive changes.
It has often been said that Japanese EFL learners have-difficulty in producing English speech rhythm, which has a close relationship to vowel reduction such as schwa. This seems to be a phenomenon caused by Japanese speech rhythm with little vowel reduction and little variability in vowel durations between successive morae. This study fries to investigate how English speech rhythm and vowel reduction are related in terms of the vowel duration and the formant space. Vowel durations of speech samples are measured, and pairwise variability index (PVI) values are calculated and compared quantitatively between Japanese EFL learners and native speakers of English. The first formant (F1) and the second formant (F2) of the unstressed vowels are also computed and the dispersion of F1/F2 is compared between the two groups in order to examine the qualitative difference of schwa. The data obtained in the study give marked contrast between them in both PVI and F1/F2 formant distribution. Vowel reduction produced by Japanese EFL learners shows a signficantly lower PVI and a greater distance from the centroid in the F1/F2 ,formant space than does that of native English speakers. The results suggest that then is a good possibility that English speech rhythm produced by Japanese EFL learners is influenced by their native tongue mora-timed rhythm.
This study investigated how Japanese EFL learners read an L2 text, and how they develop their ways in which they comprehend the text according to their L2 language proficiencies. Two compensation models of the I-CM and the C-EM were reviewed and employed to explain the development of their reading processes. 19 Japanese high school students, who were divided into three groups according to their L2 language proficiencies, read an L2 text, thought aloud while reading and finally wrote down what they recalled from the text Results indicate that the time taken to think aloud, and the total frequency of the bottom-up strategies were significantly djfferent between high- and low- proficiency groups. As for the recall test, the scores between intermediate- and low-proficiency group were significantly djfferent. From the qualitative analysis of the think aloud protocol, it was also revealed that high- and intermediate- L2 proficiency students could manage to grasp the main content of the text using reading strategies, while low-L2 proficiency students were inhibited to comprehend the text because of the lack of language knowledge. Thus, the conclusion was drawn: the development of reading an L2 text can be explained with a continuum from the I-CM to the C-EM.
This study primarily aimed at investigating individual differences in dictionary use as a problem-solving strategy during a free English composition task written by Japanese high school students. The secondary aim was exploring the tendency of dictionary use corresponding to the writing-expertise of high school students. Sixteen high school student participants, who were previously divided into three writing-expertise groups (Advanced writers, Intermediate writers, and Basic writers), wrote a free English composition task consulting Japanese-English and English-Japanese dictionaries. Their dictionary use was interpreted through a stimulated recall protocol analysis, and all the uses were categorized into seven (mostly five) types using a data-class jfication method-the KJ method The categorized dictionary use was analyzedfrom several viewpoints. As a result, the individual differences in the dictionary use of the participants, and the tendency of dictionary use of the three writing-expertise groups, were revealed in detail. Moreover certain pedagogical implications for the instructions of dictionary use were suggested.
The present study aims to examine whether the way ofpresenting listening materials to Japanese EFL learners can affect their comprehension, comparing the effectiveness between fast speech rate and natural speech rate. To analyze their effect, this study set up the following three ways ofpresenting listening materials: 1) combining fast speech rate with natural speech rate, 2) natural speech rate repeated and 3) fast speech rate repeated. The results showed that presenting materials with fast speech rate before natural speech rate had a signicantly positive effect on listening comprehension and that repeating natural speech rate did not significantly enhance listening comprehension. These findings imply that by listening at a higher speed, what was once an incomprehensible speech rate becomes comprehensible.
This article reports on two empirical studies concerning the use of hand-held electronic dictionaries(ED). The main purposes of the studies were to investigate whether an assigned task facilitates learner's retention of searched words in using ED, and an assigned task affects learner's impression of the ED. In the studies, we found that assigning a task 1) did not facilitate the retention of the looked-up word, and 2) did not change the subjects' evaluation of the ED as a learning tool. We also confirmed that retrieval strategies varied in accordance with the EFL proficiency levels of the learners. Based on these findings, this article concludes that future studies on the use of ED should be focused, not on the tasks assigned by educators, but on the retrieval strategies used by learners.
The objective of the present study is to investigate the difference between peer feedbacks with name and without name in Japanese college English composition class. The forty-six students reviewed two English compositions not knowing the writer 's name by both rating them on a scale from 1 to 5 on five criteria (Content, Organization, Vocabulary, Language Use, Mechanics) and giving descriptive feedback. In doing so, they were asked to evaluate one composition with their names and another without The students were told that their feedbacks would be returned to the writers. Their evaluation without their names showed lower scores with more comments for points to be improved. They commented more specifically and directly than when with names. On the other hand, with their names the students evaluated higher in a point scale and commented more in good points. Moreover, the students used more polite forms with their names than without their names. As a result of these findings, suggestions are made with regard to introducing peer feedback in teaching English writing to Japanese college students.
This paper proposes an oral reading model for Japanese EFL learners, aiming at establishing a rigid theoretical foundation for empirical studies concerning oral reading. This model, focusing more on the processing than production mechanism, is based on DRC model of oral word reading, the componential processing view of reading mechanism and Baddeley's model of working memory. Also, its legitimacy and compatibility are shown with our assumptions about the functions of oral reading practice: (a) it raises grammatical consciousness; (b) it expands vocabulary; (c) it strengthens letter-sound association; and (d) it improves the efficiency of working memory (Miyasako & Takatsuka, 2004; Miyasako, 2004). Further, the model's account of two major issues concerning oral reading is given: (a) parrot reading is an unusual phenomenon for readers, having underdeveloped grammar or facing text dfficulty, who orally produce a text before fully parsing it because of the shortage of processing resources; and (b) pre- and post-understanding oral reading should be practiced depending on teaching purposes and learners' English proficiencies.
Automatic word recognition is one of the key skills of good readers. Due to difficulties of perception or visual efficiencies, visual/v impaired students oflen have troubles to develop their skill of automatic word recognition. Moreover, lack of training causes low level of word recognition speed as well as limited vocabulary size. We developed a computer-based word recognition test for the visually impaired Analyzing the results, we found that there are two types of slow readen Although the word recognition speed of some students is nearly half of that of good readers with normal vision, the patterns of their recognition rates of words with different lengths (3-letter words to 7-letter words) is quite similar to those of good reader This means that their levels of automatic word recognition are rather high and in fact they are slow readers but not poor readers The other group of students is considered to be typical poor readers. The data show their word recognition levels are quite low and they read words in letter-by-letter manner We also developed a computer-based vocabulary size test for the visually impaired The result showed that many of severe visually impaired students have very small vocabulary size between 1000 and 2000. These two types of tests enable researchers to investigate their levels of English proficiency more deeply and accurately.
English activities became a part of the Japanese public elementary school curriculum in 2002. As a result, teacher-training courses to meet these new needs have been established at universities and private companies. In this paper I take a look at how this training is conducted, using research and questionnaires from case studies in extension courses I've conducted since 2003. First, I consider the preparation of teachers for elementary school foreign language programs based on the theory of Curtain & Dahlberg (2004), Elementary School (K-8) Foreign Language Teacher Education Curriculum of North Carolina teacher Preparation Project and Practical Handbook for Elementary School English Activities of Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology in Japan. Secondly, I outline current teacher-training practices for English activities in Japan. Thirdly, I go on to make some suggestions for the training of teachers based on my observations of teacher-training courses and experience in teaching such courses. I state my views on what I feel constitute the essential aspects of lectures on the topic.
The purpose of this study is to investigate the effects of literary materials in second language acquisition by diccussing the relationship between the offective aspects of literary reading and second language acquisition. Because literary reading is a form of input processing which is typically carried out, or is considered to be the most appropriate reading style, when reading literary texts, the present study focuses on literary reading in order to consider how literary materials can facilitate second language acquisition. After clarfying some basic concepts for this study, evaluative feelings, narrative feelings, aesthetic feelings, and self-mod(fting feelings, all of which typically arise in readers when carrying out literary reading, are discussed as affective aspects of literary reading. Their respective relationship with second language acquisition is as follows: evaluative feelings relate to second language acquisition in the continuation of input processing; narrative feelings in processing depih; aesthetic feelings in the facilitation of consciousness raising of linguistic farm; self-modifying feelings in the personal human development of second language speakers. It is concluded that literary materials facilitate second language acquisition at least as regards the four points stated above.